London: William Miller, 1810-1812: John Murray, 1816: Longman, Hurst, Rees. Orme, and Brown, 1819. 4 vols., 4to (285 220 mm., untrimmed), 324; 328; 313; 316 leaves paginated as in Windle and Pippin. With 14 mezzotint portraits, 24 other engraved plates, numerous engravings and illustrations in the text, some in red and black, titles printed in red and black. Some occasional spotting and dust soiling in text, and some offsetting of plates onto the text as always. Full red hardgrain morocco extra, covers richly gilt, gilt backstrips with green and black labels, joints a bit scuffed and upper joint of vol. 1 repaired. Generally a very good set with distinguished provenance. With the index in a separate volumne. First edition thus. “Dibdin's voluptuously copious account of stories and characters connected with book production, book trading and book collecting, which inspired generations of bibliophiles and bibliographers. The work came as an enlargement of Joseph Ames's account of printing in England from 1471 to 1600 (published 1749). Ames's intuition was the prime importance of first-hand knowledge of books, the primacy of the title-page on printed lists and catalogues. Dibdin adopted this innovative rigor and endowed it with his own taste for anecdote and romance. The compelling quality of his writings was acutely felt by Isaac D'Israeli, who, on receiving a copy of Dibdin's Bibliomania, wrote to him: "I have not yet recovered from the delightful delirium into which your Bibliomania has completely thrown me." A major player in the process of rationalisation of the book trade and the sharp rise in prices that took place in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Dibdin's flamboyant character is well reflected in Walter Scott's words: 'All bibliomaniacs must remember you long Dibdin, as he who first united their antiquarian details with good humored raillery and cheerfulness'. Dibdin's passion for books, together with several personally financed lavish publishing undertakings which never provided a worthy return, threw him and his family into misery.” (Finch). Windle & Pippin A15. In this copy vol. 1 p. 377 reads “377”; vol. IV page 121 reads “120”, 335 “533”, and 623 “623”.
Provenance: Marquess of Stafford, who is listed as a subscriber (1758-July 1833, created 1st Duke of Sutherland in January 1833). Thence by descent to Lord Francis Egerton (1800-1857, created 1st Earl of Ellesmere in 1846). In 1833 this fortunate man inherited the estates, houses, art collection, the Bridgewater Canal and a huge income from his great-uncle the 3rd and last Duke of Bridgewater. Bound for George Francis Granville Egerton, 2nd Earl of Ellesmere (1823-1862), with his full name in gilt on two interlocking triangles. Bookplate in each volume of Charles Sebag-Montefiore. Item #122754